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ADR - booth or in the field?

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Tim Bartell
ADR - booth or in the field?
on Mar 26, 2014 at 7:03:06 am

Hello. I'm a writer-director who is in post on my first very low budget feature. I've only previously directed three projects so my ignorance is going to show through here. But we're headed into ADR and I've only had a little previous experience with it.

I know most ADR is recorded with the actor in a regular or make shift booth. That's what we did on the web-series I directed. I found in that experience that the sound we got in ADR in no way matched the scenes they were eventually laid into. Perhaps my sound editor needed to do a better job of recreating a better ambience around the ADR track. But it was so obvious where we used ADR that is was painful.

A director friend recently shot a short. When he did ADR, he took his actors into settings that had a similar ambience to where he originally shot but where he knew he could get better sound than he got on the set. He used his laptop as a monitor. Watching it later I found it difficult to distinguish what lines he had used ADR on.

I hear a lot of pros and cons to each approach. Some prefer the more pristine sound of the booth and believe the sound editor should be able to create the needed ambience to make it a good match. Others seem to prefer an in the field sound. Like if it's a scene in a car in traffic, get the ADR in a parked car but somewhere reasonably quiet. Than layer in the traffic sounds around that.

Some more info: the original sound we got is mixed and our ADR list is fairly long. There was a lot of ambient sound through most the shoot, even in the INT.'s, where much of the film is set. My sound editor works out of Chicago and he leans towards the in the field ADR approach. My leading candidate to record the ADR is here in L.A. and favors the booth. I'm getting a lot of conflicting input from many people. I'm definitely open to opinions. (I'm sure a lot of it depends on the situation.) I should add our post budget is of course very tight. But if we don't have good sound, the rest won't matter. Thoughts from anyone? Thanks.


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Peter Groom
Re: ADR - booth or in the field?
on Mar 28, 2014 at 11:01:03 am

As no one else has chimed in, Ill contribute.

Personally Ive always done ADR in a booth. A decent acoustic studio space with the same mic types as the field record can make good ADR recordings. Then its down to nifty editing, flexing, eq, reverb addition and mixing with the other elements, and you should be able to get it matching.

BUT if your room has an interior ambience about it then youre in trouble.

My experience of outdoor recording is that almost nowhere is truly quiet. Its advantage is it has no room, but there will be a lot of other things you prob dont want like planes, cars, birds, industry, farming etc etc. Plus using ADR tools like streamera becomes much harder in the field (literally)

I think the real reason why ADR is traditionally a studio discipline is that operators like me cant be easily removed from a studio environment with comfy chairs, air con, ambient lighting and easy access to coffee.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Tim Bartell
Re: ADR - booth or in the field?
on Mar 28, 2014 at 7:17:19 pm

Thanks Peter! I've posted in a few spots and what you've said goes with most of what I'm hearing. I think having better tools and audio talent than I did in the web-series experience is going to help. I appreciate the thoughts.


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John Fishback
Re: ADR - booth or in the field?
on Mar 30, 2014 at 1:11:49 am

I agree with all Peter said. I'd add that in my experience during ADR sessions the greatest attention is paid to the actor's performance matching the original - even to the extent that mouth flaps don't match.

John

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Peter Groom
Re: ADR - booth or in the field?
on Mar 30, 2014 at 9:26:10 am

Also, you should look at a software called Revoice Pro. It takes adr cues that are pretty good, and adjust them with reference to the guide track to make them "absolutely nailed". It can even change intonation!
I have used it with great results.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Tim Bartell
Re: ADR - booth or in the field?
on Mar 30, 2014 at 6:51:14 pm

That's great. Thanks for the input!


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Tim Bartell
Re: ADR - booth or in the field?
on Mar 30, 2014 at 6:52:02 pm

And Revoice Pro is noted. Thanks!


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